- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 7, 2005

Gilbert Arenas hit the game-winning shot in Game 5, but last night it was his incredible block that might have saved the game.

With less than three minutes left, Kirk Hinrich stole the ball from Larry Hughes in backcourt from and had a clear lane for layup for the basket that would have given Chicago a six-point lead. Instead, Arenas somehow got back and rejected the shot.

?I was thinking the worst,? Wizards center Brendan Haywood said. ?The next thing I know Gilbert comes out of nowhere and blocks it. I don’t know where he came from. It almost looked like he blocked it with both hands he was up so high

Washington then closed the game on a 7-0 run for a 94-91 victory to win the series.

?I thought I had a layup,? Hinrich said. ?He made a good play. I took it for granted.?

Arenas had a difficult shooting night, making just six of 24 shots, but the offensive catalyst still had a somewhat effective night with seven assists. And he had the unlikely block in which he started well behind Hinrich running the other way before quickly making up ground and sending the ball and the game in another other direction.

?I jumped early and he just jumped in to me,? said Arenas, who registered his fifth block of the series. ?I just waited until he went up in the air and I went for the block.?

Hughes then cut the lead to two on a driving layup and Antawn Jamison tied it at 91-91 on a baseline jumper. And Jared Jeffries provided the final defensive gem with a mid-court steal before finishing with the go-ahead dunk.

The Wizards’ defense has taken its share of criticism this season, but it made the critical plays to eliminate the Bulls.

?It was great defense,? said Haywood, who had three blocks last night after having five in Game 5. ?It is very crazy and ironic how people have talked about our defense all year long, but defensive plays ? that block and the steal by Jared Jeffries won the game for us.?

Jordan tells some tales

Wizards coach Eddie Jordan was loose before the game and told a story about his playing days with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Teammate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar called him ?King Kong.? Jordan thought it was because he was bulking up with weights. It wasn’t.

According to Jordan, Kareem said, ?Every time he shoots, it goes ?Kong.’ He’s King of the Kong.?

Jordan also discussed the Wizards’ travel situation. The Wizards would have gone to Chicago for Game 7 with a loss. Instead, Washington heads to Miami tomorrow.

?I’ve got my suntan lotion on one side of my bag, and my parka coat on the other side,? Jordan said.

And then, talking about Bulls reserve Jannero Pargo, who made three 3-pointers in the final 49 seconds of Wednesday’s Game 5 on Wednesday, Jordan said, ?We’re gonna pay some extra attention to Pargo. … How do you pronounce his first name??

Bulls lacking a defense

The Bulls led the league in field goal percentage defense, but you wouldn’t know it given how the Wizards have gotten off easy shots and scored a ton of points. Chicago held Washington to 94 points in Game 1, but the Wizards averaged 109.5 in the next four.

?We have too many breakdowns,? Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. ?I’d like to see what happens when we play our best game. We haven’t played our best defensive game yet.?

Long time coming

Last night marked the first time Washington played host a Game 6 or Game 7 playoff game since the Bullets beat San Antonio in Game 7 of the 1979 Eastern Conference finals.

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